Complete overhaul of colonization

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Second Lieutenant
Sep 28, 2019
This is a master post of several ideas to improve colonial gameplay in the Americas.

To a large extent I took inspiration from these two well-written posts.

Certain provinces, including both occupied and unoccupied ones, should give claims when discovered. This gives the “Overseas Conquest” CB, which has a slightly lower province war score and allows a declaration with forces inside the target country. If the target has a sufficient dev, there is an event chain to vassalize and integrate them instead (but requiring dealing with a giant revolt event first).

Conquistadors should be able to disembark and walk around on land owned by primitive tags as well as uncolonized provinces in colonial regions, but armies do not reinforce until they return to a territory owned by you or a subject. When they enter foreign territory, that country is notified by event, receiving a special CB called “Repel conquistador”, where the war goal is simply to defeat (not necessarily annihilate) any forces inside the country. However, the AI will choose at least half of the time to not immediately use this, and instead may choose to welcome the conquistadors as guests. The conquistador, in turn, can choose to loot the provinces they are, prompting rulers to either declare a war or accept some local unrest.

Conquistadors can attempt to recruit Indian auxiliaries in provinces they are in, with a higher chance in provinces with high unrest, unaccepted cultures, or belonging to a tag that feels threatened by a larger neighbor. 1 or 2 groups of ~5-10 thousand auxiliaries each can be recruited per region, but can only operate in that region. Indian auxiliaries have Native military technology and are limited to infantry, but they do reinforce wherever they are. This can be done in uncolonized provinces as well. Once fully cored, the provinces that the auxiliaries were from will retain some autonomy. Primitive tags do not count towards the relations limit of non-primitive countries, encouraging them to hold them as subjects and strike alliances wherever possible. Vassals in colonial regions will also retain autonomy after being integrated.

There is also a ~50% chance of conflicts emerging between conquistadors when multiple move into the same area you have claims on. This has a chance of being resolved peacefully, merging both forces into one, or being resolved by battle, where the losing conquistador will be put out of action. Historical examples include Panfilo de Narvaez trying to stop Cortes, and the conquest of Honduras.

Finally, conquistadors can “read requirement” to a native state that they are in, which attempts to make them submit to vassalage. Success depends upon your power projection. Refusal hurts relations, while acceptance will result in a high liberty desire.

Colonizing a province (options 1 and 2 on the list below) before the Age of Absolutism requires a claim, which is gained through exploration. Conquistadors are also locked from the game when the Age of Absolution begins.

I have split up the "colonize province" action into several alternatives, because a lot of different things happened.
1. The player can send a colonist to the province, which works like the current process, but will also increase the province development over time. This can be done in entire states at once. This should have little development growth and take a long time in remote provinces such as deserts or mountains.
2. The player can also physically move a conquistador and have them "create reduction" in the province to start the process, usually triggering a substantial revolt. This option will be much quicker and cheaper (including ignoring climate penalties on settler growth) and will not trigger revolts after, but will not increase the development. On the other hand, it will still assimilate the culture and religion in suitable terrain.
3. A trading network option. See here for details.
4. Missionary reductions, available only to Catholics, is an extension of the Holy Orders mechanic, which allows Jesuit, Dominican or Franciscan missionaries to colonize a province instead of sending your population there. This takes about the same amount of time as the normal process, but costs nothing. When completed, a province colonized in this way will retain the original culture and religion, will be completely autonomous and raising military units will be disabled, but there will also be no separatism. If this is done in tribal land, the tribe will receive a CB and a choice between declaring before the colony is complete or becoming a march.

With the addition of many new tribes to the Americas, the ferocity of natives should be more consequential - the powerful ones should represent a serious challenge of several thousand revolters, but the peaceful ones should not rebel at all. This will make colonization much more enjoyable, as players won't have to "baby-sit" each province, and might be more strategic about where they want to colonize.

Terrain should determine whether or not a province will take the colonial culture and religion when colonized (although trade company regions should still be excluded). Jungle, mountain, highland, forest and glacial provinces will retain the original values, while other terrains will be assimilated. Jungle, desert and glacial provinces should be effectively impossible to settle, except for tropical nations. The "promote settlement growth" mechanic should change culture and religion in colonial region provinces of the correct terrain.

Colonial cultures are quite different. Firstly, any province settled or assimilated will always take the “colonial culture” (such as Mexican, American, or Brazilian), instead of the primary culture of the mother country, and this colonial culture will be the primary culture of the CN from the very start.

Instead of simply a few cultures that are each for the entirety of the Americas, the hemisphere is divided into several cultural regions which will always have distinct cultures. Also, each mother culture will produce a distinct colonial culture. For example, if Portugal and Spain both colonize within the Brazilian cultural region, there will be both a “Spanish Brazilian” and a “Portuguese Brazilian” culture. These are generated by the game in a manner similar to colonial nations, instead of every possible combination being written in from the start.

colonial cultures 2.png

Definitely subject to tweaking. The white provinces do not have any assigned culture, and will simply take the culture of whatever state colonizes them.

I understand Paradox's reluctance to represent slavery, but not acknowledging it feels almost worse, and at the end of the day it was absolutely a significant part of history, presenting challenges for European empires in various ways. If not the economic effects of slavery, at least cultures should be added. The slave trade and the oppression itself will remain absent.

There should be African diaspora cultures in the Americas (also divided by region and culture of the "mother country"), comprising their own cultural group. Tropical provinces that produce cotton, sugar, tobacco, dyes, or coffee will always receive an African diaspora culture and Fetishist religion when colonized, whereas temperate provinces with those same trade goods have a 50% chance. A player will have to contend with constantly increasing autonomy and peasant unrest in provinces with African culture, as well as really any coastal center of trade in a colonial region. African cultures are likely to spread to neighboring jungle provinces by event. There should also be events for tribes that border an African culture province to take in maroons, giving them a substantial increase in monarch power, development in capital, and manpower - this historically happened with the Miskito people of Central America as well as several tribes of the Southeastern US.

Colonial nations have a unique estate system representing the struggle over control of land between natives, local nobles, and the crown. Production and tax income will initially be limited, but once the crown controls more land, their production development will become extremely cheap to improve. When mines begin to deplete, nobles will naturally regain some influence. Nobles will also continuously attempt to expropriate native land, which will anger the church and produce peasant revolts, but will also reduce the cost of cultural conversion and increase missionary strength if successful.

Overextension should be disabled (or at least its onset significantly delayed) for colonial nations, so that they do not collapse into revolts as soon as they are founded. Also, besides an initial revolt after conquest, colonial nations should have sharply reduced separatist unrest and high tolerance of heathens, but conversion should be very difficult.

There is currently a major inaccuracy in EU4, in that European colonies in the Americas did not have standing armies, instead depending on informal local militias and official armies from the mother countries. This should be implemented, as currently having a robust army in each colony is a massive and unrealistic advantage, and also takes some of the fun out of trying to expand.

Colonial nations can also be rearranged by their overlord. There only has to be one CN per continent, but territories in distinct regions or trade nodes can be made into new ones, either as directly answerable to the crown or a sort of autonomous region of other colonial nations. These can also be transferred to other nations, and individual areas that border another nation can be transferred as well. Historical examples of this include the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which was an autonomous region of Mexico, and several new Spanish viceroyalties being created at the time of the Bourbon reforms. More colonial nations means more efficient taxation (through individual expansion, development and accepted cultures), but also a higher liberty desire.

This isn't technically "colonization" content, but it's closely linked. Some rather fundamental changes to how these tags work would go a very long way to improving gameplay in the Americas, from both the colonial perspective and the tribal perspective.
  • The more fierce tribal nations (such as the Mapuche and Chichimeca) should receive the "stateless society" reform of the Degar tribes.
  • The federation and tribal land mechanics should be extended to all the tribal nations of Latin America.
  • I know this is unlikely because it's been requested many times, but tribes (and hordes, and also colonial Brazil, for their bandeirantes) being able to perform land raids would be excellent and would really justify the existence of tribal nations beyond a doubt.
  • Many new tribes should be added in general, including the Aguaruna, Ashaninka, Chiriguano, Guaycuru peoples, Guaymi, Wayuu, Patagonian tribes, and a few new tribes to Brazil. This post does a really good job at sketching out tribes in South America. A maroon tribe, probably the Ndyuka, could also appear by event in the interior of Suriname.

  • Lempira's Revolt - Trying to colonize Honduras will trigger a Lenca revolt consisting of as many as 30,000 men
  • Trade good changes to silver in Potosi in 1545, in Zacatecas in 1548, and in San Luis Potosi in 1592
  • Coffee should not exist in the Americas prior to the Columbian exchange. Livestock should also be introduced to many provinces in Mexico, and many newly colonized places.
  • Inca Flight to Vilcabamba - if the Inca Empire is conquered, they will retain control over a new Vilcabamba province adjacent to Cusco, which gains a strong fort
  • If the player owns a province in the area, there should be an event for Xiu to peacefully submit to vassalage and convert to their religion
  • Veracruz, Mexico, Panama, Cartagena, Bogota, Lima, Trujillo, and Rio de Janeiro provinces should get events to be assimilated and receive free development sometime after being conquered, given their place as centers during the colonial period
  • Bourbon Reforms - series of events available once the enlightenment is embraced that allow better management of colonies, but also raise liberty desires. Reforms include increasing the autonomy of states within colonial nations, seizure of church land by the crown, a reduced cost to production development, and an anti-corruption campaign. Perhaps most importantly, it should restore regular separatism within colonial nations.
  • First Great Awakening event in 1730-40 in Protestant/Reformed/Anglican settler colonies converts Afro populations to state religion, and gives some separatism to colony at large
  • Expulsion of the Jesuits - this event, which should be available to all Catholic countries and not only Spain, will revoke the special status of any Jesuit-controlled provinces in colonial nations
  • Federal Republic of Central America - an independent Central America is split up into a federation (or the player can try to defeat regionalist forces). Chiapas and Yucatan have a chance to defect to Mexico.
  • Haitian Revolution - if the country that controls Haiti goes revolutionary, there will be a very strong separatist revolt that immediately takes control of all of Haiti

Pandemics of European disease were completely devastating to Native Americans throughout the entire hemisphere. About 90% of the population died. Formerly powerful empires were crippled and were conquered in their weak moment. Pandemics were the very first step in the long process of the conquest of the Americas. This is very poorly represented in EU4, where the effects of pandemics are fairly minor.

First of all, currently they are only in game as an event. Really, they should spread from province to province like institutions, introduced as soon as any army from the Old World steps foot and spreading very quickly within the region.

Ideally, pandemics will decrease province development drastically, cause devastation, and even immediately remove many of your troops, and possibly your ruler. Then, any remaining native states can get event chains to start to recover some of their development about a century later. Historically, the population recovery was very limited because natives were kept as workers in horrible conditions by the Spanish.

However, the development of the Americas is currently extremely low, reflecting its wealth during the Spanish colonial period and to make sure that natives can’t compete with Europeans. These effects should absolutely not be implemented unless the Americas receive a major buff to development, making at least Mesoamerica and the Andes almost on par with the richer parts of Eurasia. This is historically accurate - the Valley of Mexico had a population of over a million, and there were at least two more cities in Mexico with populations of over 100 thousand (Cholula and Angamuco), not even counting the Maya. The larger cities in Peru had 40-60-100 thousand. Each half of the Muisca had armies of about 50,000.


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Second Lieutenant
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Jun 10, 2020
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I love the African cultures idea, adding on to that, the game could incorporate Voodoo, which was prevalent in many slave societies in the Americas, most notably Haiti, Haitian Voodoo continues to be practiced today, and Voodoo is still prevalent to some degree in Jamaica, Barbados, and even the American South among the Gullah Culture.

This is particularly interesting because Voodoo played a central role in the Haitian Revolution, most famously, the revolt began at the Voodoo ceremony of Bois Caïman
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May 31, 2018
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Yes, please. I appreciate every suggestion to improve colonization. This forum has already got plenty to fill an expansion or two.
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